Sunday, January 16, 2011

Love and a question of moral choices

Love and a question of moral choices

by Harcharan Bains on Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 11:00pm

I have been pondering the issue of moral choices in life especially with regard to honesty, integrity and truth. I saw an Indian film long time back - Satyakam, directed by the hugely talented and sensitive Hrishikesh Mukherjee and with Dharmendra in the lead. The film had greatly moved me and I believe it had a hand in shaping my being in the years to come. On the question of morality, I can not honestly claim that I have always lived up to the standards and values that I admire in others although I am grateful that largely thanks to my mother's influence on me, I have largely stayed out of rat race for material or financial gains.

These days, I have been reading Gurcharan Das' "The Difficulty of Being Good." I recommend the movie and the book to everyone who feels concerned about the issue of right and wrong in life. Among the other books I would want my son to read are ' Jonathan Livingston Seagul', The Little Prince, The Alchemist, The Prophet, War and Peace, and Brothers Kramazov.

I consider any movement for improvement in society meaningless so long as it does not have love and compassion as its core driving forces. Anything that is not covered by love -- unflinching love and all embracing compassion -- is not covered by goodness. Any movement that smacks of bitterness can only dwarf not only the society in which it operates but even its own protagonists. I always believe that if springs of love continue to surge forth from within my heart, I will be able to achieve every thing that I consider good for human kind. But the fight against bitterness, pettiness, prejudice and selfish greed and ego in one's own heart is a constant one and is never over -- except if one happens to be saint, which must be the goal of everyone who likes to believe that he/she means well towards society. And for me, love is the shortest route to saintliness. Love that must open vistas to endless humility.

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    • Manpreet Singh Hmmm. Got to see these.
      Saturday at 11:05pm ·
    • Sammy Gill These ingredients are rare to be find....and at many places, has no or limited value. These comes from family values and parenting plays imp. role. With passage of time..meanings, usage and importance of these have changed....
      Saturday at 11:07pm ·
    • Manpreet Singh Let`sn put your statement in another way sir one must try to his maximum best to put his nobelest and best foot forward and by repelling those ingredients in the society which operate as a camouflouge in man attaing his ultimate goal.
      Saturday at 11:09pm · · 2 people
    • Sammy Gill Well said-Manpreet !
      Saturday at 11:12pm · · 1 person
    • Anurag Arora Honesty, Integrity :: Adjectives usually found in resumes attached with application for jobs.Overlooked as the employers are usually smart.
      Saturday at 11:14pm · · 1 person
    • Sammy Gill Karamzov Brothers shocks......and I would add THE IDIOT with it.
      Saturday at 11:14pm ·
    • Manpreet Singh Tx Sammy Gill.
      Saturday at 11:15pm ·
    • Harcharan Bains
      To answer a query on my status posting, I wish I could say that I am a totally honest, truthful and loving person. If I say that today, I would either be a liar or a very vane man. but when others could say that about me, I would probably ...See More
      Saturday at 11:18pm · · 6 people
    • Harcharan Bains The above comment is in response to query on the benefits taken by me from government -- asked by someone on my status .
      Saturday at 11:19pm ·
    • Anurag Arora It is great that people in your postion care about such values. The choice of this topic and your being able to connect so well with the issues taken by the writers of the books and the films puts your stature above any doubt. BUT Sir the youth today reads about Bofors, Radia, CWG, 2G, Jagan of AP, Satyam, Telgi etc. He than takes such movies and books as fiction. We people of age group 30 above have failed in making values look valuable.
      Saturday at 11:30pm · · 2 people
    • Sammy Gill ‎@HB
      Sir - I couldn't see the question- and i do not think this is anyone's business either. I think u can avoid certain dimensions.....responding every charge or wastage of time and energy !
      Saturday at 11:35pm · · 1 person
    • Manpreet Singh
      Anurag ji has a very valid point there sir. The mordern youth is taking the wrong impressions from the elders as a result you see rise in juveline deliquency . cases of forgery , robbery etc on the rise. What pains the most is the tactics ...See More
      Saturday at 11:36pm ·
    • Harcharan Bains Sammy: thanks a lot. I appreciate the feeling from where your comment comes. The question to which my comment was meant to be an answer is in one of the comments to my status on the same subject. But I get your point. Thanks again.
      Saturday at 11:37pm ·
    • Sammy Gill Yes- Anurag....but what HB was trying to say is intrinsic and what life has changed into is somewhat extrinsic. So...this polarity will carry on with him. likes of him and likes of everyone....who knows, understands and feels what he is saying.
      Saturday at 11:38pm · · 2 people
    • Ravneet Sangha
      ‎@ Bains sahib : coming bk to the book , its my
      Personal favorite and it raises the question of karma and dharma .. I have it read it again n again and as the title suggests it is the subtle art... Which raises our integrity time n again ....See More
      Saturday at 11:45pm · · 1 person
    • Sandeep Chahal all good books bains sahib....The Alchemist, The Prophet, War and Peace, and Brothers Kramazov...and i have gone through them ...they are indeed masterpieces...and kudos to you for being so honest and transparent while in high office....
      Yesterday at 12:02am · · 1 person
    • Gurbrinder Singh Anand very well written sir and makes a lots of sense to me ... will go thru this once again once i m sobre and comment ... regards.
      Yesterday at 12:04am · · 1 person
    • Anurag Arora
      ‎@ Sammy totally agree it was intrinsic.
      Every persons who responds to these topics is concerned individual. The problems of others I see daily make even integrity look like a luxury and honesty seems to be a death trap.
      Integrity is luxury ...See More
      Yesterday at 12:23am · · 3 people
    • Sammy Gill
      Kya baat !
      Seems there is nothing like nirvana/shanti/moksha....these looks like lollypops.
      And yes, there were people who tried to make a ideal preetladi but failed. This is why i feel likes of HB seems to me last standing soldiers.....
      Yesterday at 12:28am · · 2 people
    • Anil Batta
      Sir, like every thing else in life, love as well as morality fall in the realm of relativity. So looking for a finale in either may be difficult in practical life ! But so long as one is making constant forward movement and is growing; and ...See More
      Yesterday at 12:49am · · 3 people
    • Harman Bhullar ‎"The Truth is freeing"! thx for the tag Mr Bains!
      23 hours ago ·
    • Balwant Singh Jhajj
      Mr. Bains, I have been watching for a while, you talk a lot about honesty, integrity, truthfulness, morality etc., yet I have seen very political, biased, untruthful, unsubstantiated allegations as well from you on FB against others. To me, these virtues of higher living are personal and one won't have to brag about those in public, rather practice in real life. I have often found that people who talk more about such issues, in fact, are weaker in implementing such in real life, the so called pseudo-sage. It is similar in analogy to the saying "Nearer the Church, Farther from God". Usually, there is a guilty conscience issue in such cases. I am not related to any political party or involved in politics, but watch it everyday day, particularly, in my motherland. The very political career you have opted will preclude anybody to live by those standards. You may have dreamed to live by those norms, but will not be able to because of the people or the system that you are associated with. If you are really so conscious, you may have to make drastic decision to change to make your living. But that will be very difficult as well, because you are so much used to public attention. Perhaps, you are living two lives, one that you are and the one that you want to. Please note, these are my personal opinions and not any disrespect to you personally.
      18 hours ago · · 5 people
    • Vedant Sharmaa true nice sir.will look forward to these books & movies.:).
      13 hours ago ·
    • DrNirmal S Dhallu
      I can echo every word that Balwant has written above. Sammy, Anurag and Anil also make very valid observations.
      It would have been easy to click like on this note or say how wonderful. But that would have not been truthful.
      This note raises more questions about honesty, integrity, truth and love than it answers. If I am honest, I fail to understand your motives in taking this approach again and again to socio-political agenda.
      What answer would you get if you asked anyone about these virtues?
      Do you think they would be different from yours?
      As Anurag said above we all know what we ought to do or report, but ................ In your defence, you have some personal experience of the treatment you were given for speaking so-called truth when opposition in power that I have only just read a note - “Bains, Badal, Amarinder and Manpreet” by Jai Dhingra
      I copy part of your comment:
      “However, with regard to how much I spend from the government treasury, if you exclude my salary and other allowances that go with my job ( like my office, my car, a government house etc.) there is not a single penny I draw from the government to spend on myself. I foot my own bills every time I travel abroad, except once when I was a part of a delegation to Israel. Never during any tenure on this post have I added even a single penny's worth to my assets -- directly or indirectly. For the past one year I have been donating all my travel allowances also to government relief fund. And I am one of the lowest paid persons in my class in this government.”
      I have too much respect for your integrity to doubt a single word.
      However, does this statement still hold true if “I” is replaced by P Badal or S Badal?
      If you say yes then I will accept your verdict without reservation ............
      If No ....... then .......... What does your moral conscious and honesty tell you? And what do you tell them as their advisor?
      We know in politics no one lies, but very often they are economical with the truth ...........
      Issue of Love and God has almost become laughable on Facebook., coz when it comes to seriousness on the topic, everyone has his/her own version.
      "Jin Prem Kiyo Tin He Prabh Payo"
      GR8 words from GR8 person.
      But, what do they mean in our ordinary everyday lives?
      Love of God, Self, Spouse, Children, Job, Society .............. etc.
      Has one failed in life, if one fails even in single area of love as above?
      Most of our Gurbani is expressed as soul’s love for God as wife’s love for (or relation with) Husband.
      Why is this so? Why not any other forms of love?
      J Krishnamurti’s version of love:
      “Love cannot be thought about, love cannot be cultivated. The practice of love, the practice of brotherhood, is still within the field of the mind, therefore it is not love. When all this has stopped, the love comes into being, then you will know what it is to love. The love is not quantitative but qualitative. You do not say, ‘I love the whole world’ but when you know how to love one, you know how to love the whole. Because we do not know how to love one, our love of humanity is fictitious. When you love, there is neither one nor many: there is only one. It is only when there is love that all our problems can be solved and then we shall know its bliss and its happiness.”
      Perhaps, you will not like to read this, but if you are looking for endorsements for honesty, integrity, truth and love, then you are in the wrong job. It will be difficult to find a politician without some skeletons in the cupboard.
      I feel modern day examples of what you want to be is Mother Teresa. She just got on with her daily life without stopping to question if she was ........................
      I close with a very simple message from Mother Teresa -
      “Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home.”
      11 hours ago · · 5 people
    • Sammy Gill
      ‎@ Doc
      Well explained ...and once again I find myself urge to copy-paste my first comment here. " These ingredients are rare to be find.........".

      You being elder have some liberties to say- I find little .. like passing a judgment if I say anything to HB about is job job, his conviction.

      Some of your lines were very dangerous and one of them is....

      "Jin Prem Kiyo Tin He Prabh Payo"
      GR8 words from GR8 person.
      But, what do they mean in our ordinary everyday lives?"

      Second line is here...

      "Why is this so? Why not any other forms of love?"

      Purpose and expectations are different domain- sometimes we discuss certain trivia. I am not brave enough to express mine- you and people like HB have that courage...

      Because we can not explain, categorize and dissect love....we may not be able to find any fix form for it.

      LOVE: Will always remain JUMP and thing.

      It is pleasure to read people like you, HB and likes....and honor to have you guys in my profile !
      10 hours ago ·
    • Anil Batta
      ‎@ Bains Saab, Balwant and Dr Dhallu :

      1. No harm in accepting that standards of honesty and integrity are abysmally low in today's society, particularly in our own country ! But does it mean we should dump these values for ever and accept that these should cease to exist, hence-forth ???

      2. If not, then is there any harm to the cause of these values if any body aspires for them or even talks about them ?

      3. At macro and social level, we may easily say such virtues are dead or non-existent ! Now, have a look at the face of your child and come to think of it at individual level – our children and grand children are all going to live in this world only, after we are gone. What kind of a world are we leaving for them ? What wrong has the innocent fellow done so as to inherit a world where he has to work thrice-as-hard as we are doing today, to bring up his children with integrity, honesty and self-respect ?

      4. You may easily say this path is impractical ! Agreed, in absolute terms, yes ! But in relative terms, hum roz jitna gand ghar mein dalte hain, subah uthh ke us ki safai hoti hai ! Isn't it a simple truth of life ? Now, tell me one house where no safai has ever been under taken ! And how would that house look - livable, by any stretch of imagination ?

      5. So in practical terms, if any-body talks of such things in practical life, should it sound shame-ful or taboo ? How many people in public life even talk about it ? And why the heck are we hell-bent on stifling such voices ? Even if such endeavours help clean a bit of kachra, through self-introspection, why should this opportunity be lost ?

      6. As for values and reforms in today’s world are concerned, as I posted on Bains Sir’s status some months back, I am reminded of a Sum in Trigonometry that we all used to solve in school – “How much grass will a goat graze if it is tied to a peg and has ‘X’ length of the rope ?” We all have our own lengths of the rope ! We all have our own Pastures ! There is a certain no. of lives that we touch, happen to touch or reach out to ! A Mr Bains is touching X lives, a Dr Dhallu is touching Y and a Balwant touching Z. Let each of them have full freedom to live and realise how much they can, need, want to or feel like doing for the people around ! And any ways, the fact remains that we all simultaneously consume and replenish what the society produces for or offers to us ! Where do we all stand in this equation is what each one of us need to evaluate from time to time, to assess what kind of a life are we living ? Else, we are all turned into parasites (not to be taken personally by any-body, please) !

      No comments about hypocrisy, or other-wise, of any individual w.r.t. these values in personal or public life, as I am not in the know of things ! But for heaven’s sake,….naah…there never was any heaven or hell anywhere accept on this earth we have inherited……, at least for our selfish purpose, for our children and their children, let’s not stifle sane voices ever in our lives, even if they happen to be hypocritical, lest people stop raising such voices and we create a real hell on this earth ! Peace for all on this earth !

      Waqt ke safar mein, chhodte chalo nishan ! - Anil
      9 hours ago · · 4 people
    • Sammy Gill Well said !
      CORRECTION: It is pleasure to read people like you,Anil Batta, HB and likes....and honor to have you guys in my profile !
      9 hours ago ·
    • DrNirmal S Dhallu
      Anil, there is nothing in your commentary that one can disagree .....
      I was particular reluctant to comment on this as its not in my nature to to turn FB into a character assassination and I hope you or HB do not see my comments in that light.
      I have said that on more than one occasion that HB, as a scholar ranks among the best from India. He has every right to raise those issue and he should do so.
      However, it is unfortunate that we have entered pre-election period. He has a job to do that he does admirably well and some times too well for others liking. It is unlikely that his notes such as this can be taken in isolation. Also, it does not help when he himself combines morality with politics.
      Perhaps, it is Indian thing and I have lived out of India for too long. For example, I have similar battle with our sikh preachers coming over from India. They tell us everything that is wrong with Christianity, Islam, Bhudhism and Hinduism. The only thing they often fail to preach thats good about sikhism.
      I will love to read HB's versions of how good BadalP and S Badal are politically. As a political figure, no doubt that P Badal is very astute. History proves that. But, he is no saint ...............
      8 hours ago · · 3 people
    • Vivek Suri
      Dr. Saab, I saw the movie when it came out, I think 71 or 72. Dharam Prahji deserved the best actor award for his portrayal, just like " Phagun".
      The core issue is inner strength. Each individual is different. We are human and subject to weaknesses. We give in to worldly matters. The movie showed his inner strength of sticking to his principles despite adversity.
      4 hours ago ·
    • Balwant Singh Jhajj
      Well said, Dr. Dhallu. I, myself, am the least interested to participate on such matters and will be the last to character assassinate anyone. Furthermore, there is no personal motive to do such either on my part. However, there comes a point , where one becomes sick of these morality sermons knowing fully well that this is all political rubbish. I do not know Mr. Bains personally, but after looking through his readings and writings, appears to be a well literate person, and thereby hold a great respect for him. A man in his capacity and stature should be well aware that there are other such people who will see through all this. BTW, what purpose these sermons serve, is he trying to convey to the masses that there are morally sound people in Punjab politics. I guess that will be a hard pressed job. Rather, it may be more effective to acknowledge that one can be morally sound, but yet the limitations of job/career can be impediment on performance of such. But do not try to intermingle politics with virtues of morality, honesty, and so forth. Moreover, one can focus to continue the best they can do and let the people be judge of their morality. This self-serving prophecy, in my opinion, can be counter-productive, and diminish the image in public. Every political figure or people in power has few yes-men around them who will try to encourage such posting by liking them or writing good comments. Again, it is a human nature, everybody like to hear their praises as these fulfills egos quickly. However, the comments coming from some fair-minded, politically neutral people should also be taken into consideration, and perhaps may be helpful. I encourage HB to comment .
      2 hours ago ·
    • Harcharan Bains
      Mr. Jhajj, Dr. Dhallu;: First of all, thanks for the encouragement and permission to comment . I so needed all of it - after all the daunting rebukes of the preceding lines.

      As for your comments, a thousand answers surge forth, but I havetold my mind to shut up and listen .

      I do not wish to sit in judgement on any of the observations against my impudent desires to indulge my non-political tastes. Its a free country for people to comment on others' talents and tastes in or motives behind aesthetic pursuits.

      I have also silenced mid-way my only prayer that in this free country, there may be some permission granted to people holding positions close to political powers to indulge in these pursuits. Luckily, the music I enjoy and the poetry and the Gurbani and the philosophy I read and sometimes am rude enough to comment on can not swing votes one way or the other. Lovers of poetry, music and philosophy in any case seldom come out to vote. I would love to share a resting place with them in a cemetery even if I am not to be allowed to share a seat among their audience.

      Therefore, Dr. Dhallu and Jhajj Sahib,I have told all the ten thousand argumentative answers -- fighting in my mind for their turn to be heard on the issues raised by you -- to go hang themselves. I am content to listen and learn and introspect. Thats what I will do, and will wait for a day when I would have closed out on this world without a skeleton in my closet.

      And just by the way, no, I do not know if Mr. Badal or anyone else in this government claims his TA etc or not. Thats not my jurisdiction nor curiosity. But even if I said they don't, would it prove anything. Bang will come the reply: "Do they need it?" Therefore, lets leave it at that.

      As usual, I have learnt a lot from your highly perceptive observations. And for this, I can never be thankful enough. Highest Regards.
      about an hour ago · · 3 people
    • Balwant Singh Jhajj
      Thanks Mr. Bains for your response, as usual very well worded, indeed reflective of your intellect. I, myself, love music, poetry, Gurbani and philosophy and have no issues with that. You alluded to free society/country, perhaps there is no bigger proponent of those than myself, and wish it to be more vibrant in my motherland than they are/were. The only problem I have is that people won't have to advertise to public how virtuous they are, rather let the people be judge of that. As it says, excess of everything is bad, that also implies here as well to such redundant morality posts as well. I do commend though that compared with some other public figures, at least you have the generosity to interact with people.
      55 minutes ago · · 1 person
    • Harcharan Bains
      Balwant Singh Jhajj: Thanks indeed. About the morality posts, the one you have quoted is a part of reply to some sort of an allegation, and not a sudden declaration of virtues in me. But if it conveyed that impression, i owe you and everyone else apologies - and offer them here without delay.

      Nevertheless, I would listen than talk.
      44 minutes ago · · 2 people
    • Harcharan Bains Correction: Nevertheless, I would rather listen than talk.
      42 minutes ago ·